MADE: 1950’s Bardot-inspired Bright Red Sweater

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

(via)

The inspiration behind the sweater

Brigitte Bardot has always been my muse. I love her iconic woke-up-like-this hair and sense of style. When I am in need of some cute and flirty 1950’s vintage style inspirations, I always turn to Pinterest and enter “Brigitte Bardot style” in the search bar.

This picture of Bardot with her wide bambi eyes, alluring lips, unbrushed look and bright red sweater is something that caught my eye a while back. I have always wanted to have a red sweater like that.

Obviously, with a design that simple, I could always just find a similar one from a high-street store. But why would I want to do that when I know that I could make my own?

Finding the pattern

When I came across the Knitting It Old School book in a secondhand bookstore in San Francisco in 2016 and saw the pattern “Swing Time” by Kirsten Kapur, I knew I had found the right pattern. It has just the right design details: round neckline, ribbing in the body, short sleeves.

Unfortunately (and rather unsurprisingly), the smallest size offered by the pattern is for a 32″ bust. I *could* have a 32″ bust if I wore a good bra and kept my chest out all the time. But ain’t nobody’s got time for that.

I have always wanted to try grading a knitting pattern. I have graded many sewing patterns but grading knitting patterns just seems like swimming in dark waters to me. Unpicking sewing stitches is less painful than frogging a whole knitted sweater!

After reading this article from the archives of the online Knitty magazine, I decided to jump in and take a swim. Moreover, I have a ton of vintage knitting patterns that I would LOVE to knit but aren’t my size. I just have to try grading a pattern at some point.

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red SweaterFinding the yarn

The next problem I faced was finding the right yarn for the project. I have knitted a fair share of projects using cheap acrylic yarn that I have bought and hoarded over the years from the time I was a poor university student. As I am starting to become more concerned about the amount of plastic amassing in landfills and floating in the ocean on planet Earth, I wanted to make the switch to using natural fibres. Living in the tropical island of Singapore where summer happens ALL YEAR ROUND makes using cotton the obvious choice. I bought my cotton yarn via a shop on Taobao.com (which is basically Chinese Amazon). The name of this stunning shade of red is, believe it or not, called “China Red” (when directly translated from Chinese).

I absolutely love this yarn! It’s a cotton blend that consists of 60% cotton and 40% milk fibre. It’s soft and easy to knit with. I have worn the sweater a couple of times and it seems to be holding up pretty well so far. Well, you can ask me again in a few months’ time!

Grading the pattern

So, for anyone who is interested, here’s how I graded my pattern:

I made a gauge and studied the different sizes of the pattern. This pattern is written for S (M, L etc) – 32 (36, 40 etc)” chest. I wanted a 30″ chest (so kinda like an XS). That means that it is 2″ smaller than the smallest size.

The difference between XS and S is 2″, while the difference between S and M is 4″.

So, when the pattern asked to CO 98 (110, 122 etc), I decided to CO 92 for my XS sweater.

110 (size M) – 98 (size S) = 12

Difference between XS and S = 0.5 x difference between S and M = 0.5 x 12 = 6

Number of stitches to CO for size XS = size S – 6sts = 98 – 6 = 92

I applied the same concept throughout for the number of stitches required and the length of certain parts that were stated.

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater
Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

Details: Gold-tone buttons saved from a vintage dress I changed the buttons for

The end result

I guess… it worked? The only other modification I made is reducing the length of ribbing for the sleeves so I won’t have the weird thick sleeve cuffs folded over and it would look more like the sweater that Bardot has. My sweater has a snug fit, which is what I want and need for the vintage look. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if I hadn’t graded the pattern!?

The original pattern describes the sweater to be a 1940’s style design. For some reason, knitting it in red made it look more like a 1950’s style highschool cheerleader sweater of some sort. Don’t you think so?

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

Showing you the seams under the pits!

Bardot Inspired Knitted Red Sweater

A video of how I did my hair is also available on my Instagram. Photo edited with A Colour Story Stardust filter pack by Keiko Lynn.

Summary:

Pattern: Swing Time by Kirsten Kapur (from Knitting It Old School)

Yarn: Basic cotton red yarn from TaoBao.com

Modifications: Reduced length of ribbing for sleeve cuffs, graded pattern to fit XS

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MADE: 1960s style crochet twin set

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: 1960s style crochet twin set suit (handmade), retro saddle shoes (DIY), vintage white hoops (thrifted op-shop find)

Last year, I wrote a blog post about a few vintage inspired knitting and crochet projects that I was planning to embark on. After completing a 1950’s inspired polka dot sweater, I immediately started working on the next thing that was on my to-make list – this 1960’s inspired crochet twin set.

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstellaThe pattern for this crochet twin set is from Patons Book 1318 Vintage Charm: Archive patterns from the 40’s to the 70’s, a pattern booklet I purchased from Spotlight (Singapore). I was initially tempted to make an identical one using pink yarn that is similar to the one used in the book, but I couldn’t find anything suitable in Spotlight. Every pink ball of yarn I found in the shop was wool, and wool is icky for hot and humid Singapore. Fortunately, I was shopping with a friend and she persuaded me to pick this sunny pastel yellow acrylic instead. I know, acrylic ain’t the best substitute but where do I find cool cotton yarn in Singapore!?

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstellaFibre aside, this colour was a great recommendation! I am glad that I listened to my friend and didn’t submit to my 16 year old mini-me on the left shoulder that screams for anything in cotton pink.

This crochet twin set has turned out to be such a lovely addition to my capsule wardrobe for the months of March and April so far. Matching twin sets are the best for people (like me) who are trying to expand their vintage/vintage-inspired outfit repertoire without hurting the wallet, wardrobe, or world. *insert twin heart emoji*

Here’s how I have styled my crochet twin set:

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: 1960s style crochet blouse (handmade), second-hand vintage 90s does 60s mini-skirt (online purchase), vintage white purse (thrifted op-shop find), ballerina flats (ASOS), white hoop earrings (had them for as long as I can remember)

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: New York Herald Tribune T-shirt (DIY), 1960s style crochet skirt (handmade), retro style huaraches (ASOS), wicker tote (thrifted op-shop find), ice-cream necklace (handmade), cat-eye glasses (ASOS)

Hooray to a versatile capsule wardrobe. I can’t wait to wear these out more often! xx G

MADE: Vintage 1950’s Style Polka Dot Sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater
Many of you may not know this, but I started blogging eons ago when I picked up knitting. My first blog was called “because she started knitting”. Obviously, my focus has changed significantly since. But… my knitting skills pretty much stayed stagnant because I was never confident enough to move away from hats and scarves.

A while back I blogged about some vintage-inspired knitting and crochet books which spurred me to pick up my knitting needles once more. Fast forward many months later, this polka dot sweater is born.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Left: My creation // Right: The original pattern from the book Vintage Knits for Him & Her: 30 modern knitting patterns for stylish vintage knitwear

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

That’s 6 inches off the bottom!

It took me about 2 months to finish this project, and then a couple more months to grieve over the fact that it was too long for my liking. After a tearful post on Instagram, I finally mustered enough courage to snip the bottom off and to correct the length. I took off about 6 inches from the bottom! I honestly don’t know how I ended up making a dress. Maybe I shouldn’t have steamed it with a steam iron. But I love how yarn looks after a bit of steaming.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

Front and back

And then, after the length was fixed, I realised that I wished it fitted on my body better. Once again, maybe.. maybe I really shouldn’t have steamed it, because steaming relaxes the yarn.

Vintage 1950s inspired polka dot sweater

It took me a few more months of grieving before I finally came into terms with the fact that I am NOT going to make it better. I am NOT taking the sides in. I have had enough. This project has exhausted all of my patience. And so, this is the way it stays. xo G

MADE: Vintage 1960’s inspired Chocolate Chip Christmas Hat

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatvintage 1960s inspired knitted hatHappy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year’s. I was away for the entire month of December as I had been busy with my work and life in general. More importantly, I spent Christmas with my boyfriend in Texas and got to meet his family and friends for the first time!

And because it was winter, I got to wear all the coats and hats and boots and everything that I haven’t had the chance to wear since I moved back to Singapore 3 years ago. But I still couldn’t resist knitting something new.. especially since I still have so many balls of yarn in my stash!

Bernat 1969 hat knitting patternBernat 1969 hat knitting pattern

I saw this photo of a vintage 1969 knitted hat featured in an old Bernat knitting pattern magazine and I was smitten! The hat looked like it was made with a bulky yarn in the photo, but I wanted to use my existing DK / 8 ply yarn, so I decided to improvise! I used this gnome hat pattern that I found via Ravelry as a base for my hat.

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatAnd to replicate the original 1969 hat pattern, I made the following modifications:

  • Created the long tail by repeating a few of the decreasing rounds a couple of times
  • Adding a pom pom at the end with fabric glue

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatvintage 1960s inspired knitted hat

vintage 1960s inspired knitted hatEasy peasy! And is it just me or does the yarn remind you of chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream? Yum.

And now that I am back in hot and sunny Singapore, this hat shall rest in the wardrobe… until my next adventure to somewhere cool…

MADE: Crochet Bacon and Eggs scarf

Bacon and eggs scarf, very NSFW, innit?

Bacon and eggs scarf, very NSFW, innit?

It’s been a long time since I made a scarf. Actually, it’s been a long time since I made any knitted or crochet objects, really. And by a long time, I mean a looooong time. To be honest, I don’t think I have ever posted a knitted/crochet project here? Shame on me who previously had a blog called “because she started knitting“.

This is long overdue project, a birthday gift that was promised to my friend over a year ago. Ah, better late than never.

I whipped up this bacon and egg scarf on my own without following a specific crochet bacon and eggs scarf pattern out on the Internet. There are tons of versions out there and all you need to do is type “bacon and eggs scarf” into Google to get inspired. So, unfortunately, I have no pattern to share. All I can say is that this pattern was made using about 9 balls of yarn (x 4 red, x 3 beige, x 1 yellow, x 1 white), 5 days of recuperation at home from wisdom teeth removal, and 2 seasons of 2 Broke Girls.

P.S.: If you like my bacon and eggs scarf, you might also be interested in checking out my knitted/crochet projects from the past such as the knitted pencil scarf and the knitted panda hat. I am also on Ravelry.

Made: Amigurumi Potted Plant

A pot of irises

I cannot remember the last time I crocheted something for myself. This is a pot of purple flowers which I crocheted for a friend last year. I was meant to attend her wedding in Sydney, but things didn’t work out and I didn’t end up flying back to Sydney for the wedding…


Long story short – this is something I made for a friend called Iris. I like to imagine that those purple flowers are actually irises…

If you like this, you can check out the crochet pattern that is available for free on the Lion Brand website here. And, as usual, I didn’t follow the pattern fully. I was meant to make crochet green leaves for the plant too, but I figured I wouldn’t have the space. I was right – I didn’t end up using a couple of flowers! I made brooches with those leftover flowers. 

Also, I was meant to sew the flowers on the potted plant. But why go through the trouble when I have a glue gun sitting in my drawer?

Purple flowers
The pot
The filled pot
This quick and easy project reminded me of how much I used to love making crochet flowers. I should start knitting and crocheting more often again. And now, I think I am going to have a quick look at all the vintage crochet and knitting patterns I have collected over the years and start a new project… x

MADE: Knitted bolero


The back
Last Saturday my few of my friends came over to my place for a mini afternoon tea and to pick out some of my old clothes. And it was then that I suddenly recalled this gem that I knitted about 3 years ago. Yes, this little thing was knitted over 3 years ago and it has always been sitting in my wardrobe. No, I have not worn it once. 


What was wrong with me?

There was Twinings Prince of Wales tea, green tea and lemongrass & ginger tea. Oh, and there were macarons too. 

A quick search of my Ravelry account reminded me that this was made with a free pattern based on an original Anthropologie capelet. In other words, this is an Anthro-inspired capelet. Capelet, shrug, bolero. You can call it whatever you wish.

And if I recall correctly, I made this bolero with just 1 (or maybe 2) balls of Shiver yarn (from Spotlight). It’s bulky and… on sale when I bought. Like… $5 or something.

Geez, it’s time I pick up my knitting needles again. How I’ve missed those times. 

Oh, and I was wearing a polka dot dress that I picked up at a flea market a few weeks ago and my favourite traditional American tattoo-inspired necklace. Happy days!


x Rockabilly x

xx

DIY: Flower Crown


Flower Crown
Back view



This is another Rookie-inspired DIY project that has been on my to-do list for FAR TOO LONG. And now, it’s done. And now, I’m happy. And now, I am itching to make more.


Crochet roses

I made this flower crown using crochet roses that I made in various sizes, felt, a plain headband, and … lots of glue. Perhaps next time I will make one using really big, plastic flowers.  Now let me put on this flower crown and a white tutu, and then leave for an imaginary afternoon tea in my imaginary secret garden. x

P.S.: The photos were taken before I dyed my hair pink. My hair tips are still pink!
P.P.S.: Someone asked me about how I achieved the original black and blond ombre look in a comment on my original ombre hair post. I can’t help you at all because a friend did it for me! I simply provided the dye and the hair. 😛

MADE: Just a pair of yellow mittens

So, I did it. I made a pair of yellow mittens to go with the yellow beanie that I haverecently knitted. To be honest, I’m surprised that I actually went ahead with making a pair of yellow mittens despite my dissatisfaction with my yellow beanie. Perhaps it’s partially due to the fact that the remainder of the yellow yarn and a few crochet hooks are the only craft-related items that I have with me in Albury at the moment. I miss my Elna.

I digress.
Behold, a pair of yellow mittens that are technically not a pair because there are slight differences between the mittens. Maybe you can spot them in the photos, maybe you can’t.



These mittens are based on the pattern found here. Mind you, my mittens are a modified version. I originally planned on knitting a pair of mittens with a cable pattern so that it matches the pattern of the beanie better. But I decided that crochet hooks are easier to transport and a much quicker way to churn out a pair of mittens. Regardless, I think the fact that mittens are made from the same yellow yarn makes them look like they belong to the beanie. So, the mittens and the beanie are a set in my opinion and here’s a family photo just to prove it. 


MADE: Just a yellow beanie

This is the second project that I’ve knitted using DPNs. It is also the first project that I knitted using my new bamboo DPNs that I bought off eBay. The problem with knitting cable (or really, knitting anything at all) using bamboo needles is the fear of breaking them. Perhaps it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I really broke one of my needles. Damn. 

I was really excited to see how this beanie would turn out as I was knitting because I really love the cable patterns and the overall slouchy look of the original hat knitted by the writer of the pattern. To be honest, I am actually quite disappointed at the way the hat turned out. It was not slouchy at all. And then, to my horror, I realised that it was all my own fault because I forgot to change to bigger needles after knitting the ribbed edge. Whatever.

Close-up

So here’s the story of the imperfect beanie. At least it helps to keep me warm and adds a dash a colour to dreary winter days. I wanted to knit a pair of matching fingerless mittens initially but right now I don’t know if I still have the drive to do it. Perhaps I should do it after all, since I still have a bit of that yellow yarn left. 


Original pattern of the beanie


xx